The need to shake it up, do something outrageous, taste or cook a new dish, travel to an unexplored city, attend a class that challenges your body–I could go on and on–is hard, which is exactly why I need to do it, and do it often.
I’m prone to that safety zone of sameness, especially within work, and when your work is in the creative field, as mine is, falling into a rut or static state is not productive, nor will it bring about success (however you define that). I’ve found that carving out time for myself, even one hour a day, to be truly social (not on social media) and just plain different than the other 23 hours of the day, has changed my entire outlook on life. The more I say, no, to my ruts, the more dynamic and flexible I’ve become.
Ruts can look like anything: cooking the same dinner over and over again, watching television every night of the week instead of venturing out, mindlessly scrolling through social media, reading the same author, sipping the same wine, ordering avocado toast every time you go out for brunch–basically, doing the same thing every single day or every time you do an activity.
How to Get Out of a Rut and & Why I Practice Rut-Smashing
There are endless ways to break out of a rut, to reach beyond that plateau, but the ones I’ve outlined below are the two most important for me–and I find them the most open to interpretation. When I practice these two things, the rest of my rut-breaking seems to fall in place. I’m more inspired at work and in the kitchen (hello, job love!); talk to my partner in a more respectful, understanding way; have a hunger and curiosity for the unknown; walk taller; sit straighter; talk to everyone I meet with confidence and eye contact; get out of the house; and so, so much more. The snowball effect is real, and essential, when it comes to getting out of a rut.
Here’s my 2-ingredient recipe for breaking free of sameness and living well–consider it your “Well To-Do” list for the week.
1. Go on an Adventure
I moved to London, UK, from Canada, with my partner. I sold my house and vehicle, physically left my family and friends (and stuff), stepped into a new country, and had to be OK with that. It took over 6 months to adjust, and within that time I fell into a bad place personally, and in my relationship. There were many factors that led to this spill during that time which aggravated the discomfort of the move, but I’ve been able to allow myself calculated (not full) erasure of the situations which set off the downward spiral. The adventure really healed me though, in a very unexpected way.
Today, I’m happier, more confident, more accepting and understanding, have greater compassion and see the world in a fresh, positive way. Moving to the UK has also meant easy and fast travel and adventure to places like Holland, France, Spain, and beyond. For me, the travel, too, took some getting used to. A few weekend holidays away flying short distances or taking the train, has taken me some time to get used to, which may seem silly, but my default is homebody. After pushing myself and having my partner support me (the most adventurous human I’ve ever met), I finally love and crave travel.
You don’t have to move to a new country or continent to enjoy adventure though.
Here are some little adventures you can take that don’t cost a lot, are doable for most people, and take you out of an unproductive rut:
- Wade into the waters of a new city you’ve been meaning to go, and do something unique while you’re there
- Make solid plans with a friend (not “we should do coffee sometime”)
- Book a vacation or weekend excursion
- Rent a bike on holiday to get around instead of hiring a car
- Go to a new café for leisure or bring your laptop and work
- Take a hands-on class or workshop (pickling and canning, space exploration, flower arranging, pottery, etc.)
- Eat a new food and cook a new recipe you’re uncertain about (actually use those cookbooks!)
- Ask for what you want
- Take yourself out for a drink or meal when you can’t lock down plans with a friend, and even when you can (i.e. do both!)
- Pack a picnic and dine outdoors, preferably with wine
- Invent a tradition (my partner and I go out for a burger and fries dinner on Valentine’s Day instead of doing the “traditional” couple thing at a fancier restaurant–it’s the best)
Adventure is easy if you reframe what adventure means.
2. Exercise Your Body
Exercise has changed my life! A couple of months ago, I chose to replace 1 hour of mindless Instagram scrolling with 1 hour of yoga and barre practices. Yoga, in particular, has transformed my mindset (and body–I am becoming so strong!) and mood. I’m taking my practice off the mat and into my everyday life. I’m breathing better, thinking more clearly, staying inspired, chilling out, and able to relax for the first time in decades. I find the practice beautiful as it’s bringing awareness to every muscle, cell, and feeling I enter into practice with. I’m more aware of body and able to shake things off more quickly outside of practice. It’s the most wonderful way to stay refreshed, and stay out of a rut. To keep myself out of a yoga rut, I do various types of practices with different teachers. Find a yoga teacher who inspires you or start small at home with a free yoga YouTube practice. Because of yoga, I’ve become more positive, grounded, in-tune, accepting, relaxed, and able to break free of ruts and negative thinking patterns in a real way. I love yoga’s inclusiveness and range. There’s something for everyone.
As for barre classes, I’m a former ballerina and love the fitness-meets-ballet workout. I get to embrace my favourite childhood pastime in a new way. You don’t need any dance background to participate though: barre is for everyone who want an effective workout using minimal props and their own strength. So fun and totally rut-erasing.
If yoga and barre aren’t your thing, pick literally any other way to check in, move your body, and turn your attention inward.
I hope this encourages you to identify your ruts and break free of them, even the small ones. Life really can be a blast!
You can see all of the posts in my Recipes for Wellness series here.